“Take risks, but keep your overhead low.”
“Crowdsource ideas, but work in stealth mode.”
“Work in an open floor plan to keep communications open but leave your developers alone.”
Is it me or does most business advice feel contradictory?
Here’s my theory:
1.) Specific approaches are valid at specific circumstances in the company.
So perhaps it’s valid to take a risk on a new project, but not take a big risk on a new hire. Fine, I get that.
2.) Advice evolves as the people’s judgement evolves.
So while I was rash and foolish in my youth, these days my experiences have taught me to be more prudent. Or perhaps my definition of “rash” and “prudent” have evolved, and years from now I’ll look back and say “now I know better…”
I wonder if I’ll ever know “best” – Like, the optimal decision to make for any course of action.
In any case, we see that this matter of contradictory advice, and therefore decision-making, can severely undermind one’s leadership. No one wants to follow a waffler; and no one can really lead without a coherent message. So when a break from a previous stance happens, it’s imperative that the leader realizes that he/she is breaking from the previous course of action and communicates that effectively to their team. Otherwise….it’s just going to look like you have a schizophrenic leader who doesn’t know what he/she is doing or why.